Ewan McDougall was born in Wellington, New Zealand. His family later moved to Oamaru where he was educated at Waitaki Boys High School and taught painting by North Otago regionalist painter Colin Wheeler.
Ewan attended Otago University while also working in freezing works and drumming in Rock bands. He gained an Honours Degree in Political Studies in 1971. He worked at Otago University as a junior lecturer and tutor before leaving to travel overseas.
Over the ensuing decade Ewan traveled extensively, working on oilrigs and in pubs and mines. In the early 1980's He returned to New Zealand with his partner, writer Sarah McDougall. In 1988 the artist began to paint again.
He has subsequently developed a vibrant signature style. His witty, outrageous works are inhabited by a wealth of personal references to his sometimes volatile life.
Ewan has had 71 solo exhibitions in some of New Zealand's most prominent dealer galleries as well as exhibiting internationally.
In 1994 he exhibited in two group exhibitions Cornwall. In 2004 he showed new paintings with Gallery 2021 as part of the Sydney Art Show.
McDougall exhibited in London in 2005 with the prestigious West End Gallery the Rebecca Hossack Gallery as well as taking part in 'Art London'- the Chelsea Art Show, the London Art Show and the London Raw Arts Festival.
Later the same year Ewan exhibited alongside three other international artists at Arte Immagini Gallery in Cremona City, Italy. In 2006 he exhibited at the Spanish Raw Art Exhibition in Valencia, Spain and has been booked for a solo exhibition in 2007-8 with the Rebecca Hossack Gallery, London. In 2003 Ewan exhibited in 'Southern Heat' at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
The painter is an nine-time finalist in the Wallace Art Awards and a prize-winner in the Mainland and Cleveland Art Awards. He was a Finalist in the Park Lane Art Awards 2006, and in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Adam Art Awards, 2006. His painting 'My Dad at El Alamein' was selected as one of the Portrait Finalists to tour Nationally. Finalist in Anthony Harper/ CoCA Art Awards Centre of Contemporary Art Christchurch, Sept 2006. Finalist in New Zealand Portrait Gallery Awards Exhibition Shed 11 Wellington, Feb 2008.
He has paintings in a number of public collections and innumerable private collections.
I am an Expressionist painter. I rarely plan a painting or do preparatory drawing. I commence the work with a quick wash of strong, primary colour and then begin to hurriedly paint figures-people, animals and hybrid creatures. I add crude marks for volcanoes, hills, sea, buildings, boats, clouds, sun and moon, working with vibrant impasto.
The painting forms and informs me as to what it is. The last stroke is always the title. Above all I prize spontaneity, colour and a good dose of irony.
I love being a painter.